Adira F McNally Adira 1 Mr. Nelson
AP Literature and Composition
October 9, 2014
How Figurative Language Effects Tone in “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer” As seen by simply reading the poem, one cannot come from it without having a feeling of awe and inspiration, along with a new desire to read Chapman’s translation of Homer. The poem is rich with emotion-invoking language and filled to the brim with excitement. The poet, John Keats, uses figurative language such as metaphor and simile to create a tone of wonder, fulfillment, and ecstasy in his poem “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer.” The poem contains figurative and symbolistic expressions such as seen in the first line in “realms of gold” The realms of gold represent both the realms of the Greeks literally, and their cultural and literary realms, the gold exemplifying the richness. The second symbolic expression is how Homer is described as deep-browed and a ruler of a “demesne” (land attached to a manor), both ideas expressing how the poet respects Homer indefinitely. And yet, in the next line, he states “Yet did I never never breathe its pure serene,” meaning that although Homer was incredible and he had respect for him, until he read Chapman’s translation, he never truly realized what an incredible work Homer had created. The most prominent device used is metaphor. In “Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold” to “That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne,” the poet describes his past experience as a literal journey but it obviously is lacking in the taste of wonder that is described later. This metaphorical usage of comparing reading to journeying, albeit a common one, is quite useful in Adira 2
preparing the reader for the descriptions later on. In the line “Yet did I never never breathe its pure serene,” The “pure serene” provides...
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